Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Pantry Project

I have pantry issues. As an overly-busy, somewhat experimental, very scattered, and rather impulsive cook, I have built up a pantry that is just too unwieldy for our current needs. I buy bulgar at the coop only to discover a week later that I already had bulgar, for example. I have four kinds of oatmeal on the shelves. There are more than a few outdated things in the back and, of course, there are those exotic condiments and such that snuck in somehow and are unlikely to ever be consumed by this family.

This problem is only going to get worse, I suspect, since I signed up for a prepared foods CSA for this fall. I'm going to be cooking even less often, which means I will be even more out of touch with what is going in the pantry (and the freezers, for that matter) and the turnover is likely to be even slower on the non-essential items.

So.... My goal this fall is to plan menus not from the food porn magazines that arrive at my house or the tempting recipes friends post, but based on at least one (significant) item from the pantry. And when I buy bulk items going forward (much of my shopping happens at the coop), I'm going to measure and buy just what I need for the one recipe I'm planning to make. I'll still keep a good supply of staples -- TJ's refried beans and pineapple salsa, cereal, pad thai fixins', peanut butter, chips, dried beans, and rice, and pasties and bread in freezer -- but focus will be on the things we consistently move through quickly.

As a bit of inspiration and accountability, I've included the "before" images!

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